Wednesday, September 29, 2010

L-ptop Dis-ste-

OK, I admit it, I was pretty stupid. I shouldn’t have been sipping tea near my MacBook laptop. It was even more foolish to spill half a cup of Irish Breakfast into the keyboard.

The tea sank down into the cracks. I turned it upside down and let some of it drip out. Then I tried drying it out with a hair dryer. I shot hot air through a FedEx envelope to force hot air into the vents.

Then I stood it up in front of the fireplace—never mind that it was 80 degrees outside. After a day of drying it out, I powered it up. The screen flickered a few times and then lit up.

The good news is that the moisture apparently didn’t get into the logic circuits. No files have been lost.

The bad news is that the “A,” “R,” and “F” keys don’t work anymore.

It’s h--d to come up with blog post without using those lette-s. They show up in -lmost -nything you t-y to wite. Dogs c-n s-y “bow-wow” -nd “woo-” but not “---.” Whe-e does Sh-ek live? The L-nd o- ---, ---, -w-y!”

I’ve ordered a new MacBook Pro. My makeshift solution with the old one is to put an old G3 keyboard right over the laptop keyboard, and I’m more or less back in business.

I still drink tea, but I park it farther away.

25 comments:

Joshua Trujillo Illustration said...

If you ever spill water into any electronic device, it is best to soak it in dry rice. This absorbs the most water.

Here is an example with a digital camera:
http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com/2008/12/camera_rice.php

Will Kelly said...

My MacBook has been known to keep close company with mugs of coffee. I am going to have to limit the time they spend together!

Erika Lee Sears said...

I spilled OJ on my keyboard and ruined it- but I think it was the sugar and acid in the OJ :)

Rich Adams said...

I guess on the bright side, you now have a great excuse to purchase a new laptop...

This same thing happened to me with -- gulp -- my wife's computer. Yes, I spilled coffee underneath it and it was well-soaked. I took it apart to let it air dry and it worked great for a power up or two and then the backlight went out on the monitor. Fortunately she had the Apple Care plan and they replaced the backlight, no questions asked... well, at least they didn't ask me if I broke it... ooops!

Let us know how the new laptop works out for you. I'm very close to upgrading mine and would love to see how the new ones compare.

sarah makes pictures said...

You are not alone!

Susan Adsett said...

I'll take this as a warning - I'm ALWAYS drinking tea near my Macbook - and yeah, once the keyboard goes down, you've pretty much got to get another one. Since that's not in the budget right now, the tea is going to have to sit quietly on another desk! (of course, once I save up some money, I can certainly see an "accidental" spill hurrying the new computer purchase along...)

René PleinAir. said...

I once had my cellphone in the washing-machine, ... left it to dry
but the battery was all swollen up. Bought a new battery and hoppa it worked, ... a few days. after that the display became oxidized and ruined. So I guess the same would go for a laptop at first it could be all right but when things starting to oxidize it's over and out.

Julia Kelly said...

All this made me want another cup of tea while I read my morning blog posts!!

BB said...

In the future have breakfast as “F”“A”“R” away from your laptop as possible.

:)

Munchanka said...

Howdy Jim,

I've been doing some writing challenges with a couple friends of mine. I asked my buddy Vi to give me a sentence to start a short story and he wrote, ''James Gurney felt sick.''

The ensuing adventure has been posted on my blog. Hope you enjoy!

-austin

David Teter said...

Don't leave any electronic device on your sloped drawing board in the path of a bucket of watercolor rinse water, it will inevitably take a dip. I know... my TV remote can't swim.

Rebecca.Yanovskaya. said...

Wow that's EXACTLY what happened to my Mac, right down to the keyboard ceasing to work but everything else being fine. I had them replace the keypad.

j. w. bjerk said...

On most macs that i've handled the keys can come off with a little prying.

It's possible they are just stuck. It's worth a shot to pry them off and put them back on. That worked on my G4 powerbook- though there was no beverage involved with my computer.

Lumo said...

Which model did you go with, 13, 15 or 17"?

John Malcolm said...

I once did this with a laptop and an open bottle of beer. I tried the drying out thing. I then paid to have a shop order and replace the keyboard. It wasn't cheap, but was a whole lot cheaper than a new laptop.

My sister did the exact same thing with a glass of red wine - and in case you all think we drink too much, I once knocked a cup of tea into the opened (and running) side of a PC desktop (I'd been adding RAM I think and was too lazy to close it straight away)

David Morning said...

Something like http://www.completeoutdoors.co.uk/Aladdin-230ml-Easygrip-Insulated-Mug is great if you're using electronics. I've got one and it keeps your tea warm, plus the lid on it makes sure you can't spill much on anything

Cavematty said...

Watching a movie at a friends place I bumped my bottle of beer. It wasn't going to tip over - it just wobbled, but I over-reacted because it was next to their macbook pro. It was the desperate over-reaction that caused me to spill lager all over the computer. We turned it off, and took it into the applestore where they apparently submerged the entire laptop in an alcohol bath and then hand cleaned the internals. It has been working perfectly ever since (several months now).

On the flipside, the new lappy's have the high-res screen option :) Take the insurance money and run!

Cody said...

I've taken keyboards apart and cleaned the contacts and gotten them to work again. The contacts are usually gray metallic looking stuff printed on a sheet of plastic. Usually the contact from the keyboard is made through holes in another sheet of plastic covering the one with the contacts on it. Use a pencil eraser to clean them off. Then put it all back together and hope it works! :-)

James Gurney said...

Munchanka, I loved your story--it reminded me of one of my bad dreams. Not having a sketchbook and seeing Nessie would rank right up there with dumping tea into the laptop.

Joshua, thanks for the tip on the rice. I had read that somewhere, but we were a bit low on rice, so I went with the other drying ideas. Hope they worked.

J.W. and Cody, those tips for getting under the hood sound tempting, but I should probably leave such stuff to a professional.

Lumo, I got the 15 inch MacBook pro, and as Rich said, it was probably time, as the old Macbook was three years old, and very heavily used. It was easy to migrate the files over, and the new Pro works great. I'm hoping to do more digital video editing, so I really needed the RAM and the storage.

Thanks to all for your commiseration and tips. I've learned my lesson, and I'm going to be careful in beer halls or Starbucks from now on!

LuisNCT said...

Another good system to clean electronic devices is to clean up with alcohol, and then to let evaporate by itself

Dave said...

O Jim I know that feeling well--- the sinking ache of watching in despair as the ----happened to Julianne as the cell phone fell out of her top pocket and in to the toilet bowl! yes it did make a noise --a death rattle-- Julianne is helping me compose and death rattle is her's well we went to the best buy store and got a new phone..... the old one didn't say a word.

Eli said...

Two things:

First: This isn't water but my friend needed his macbook keyboard cleaned because it had ants in it.

Second: things like this happen if you use the mac OS.

Try this http://www.ubuntu.com/

judith said...

I'm impressed by your efforts , very creative drying process. A for effort!

Johan Derycke said...

Yep, you should have used a DHL envelope instead :p
(lol ok now you know where I work)

Dit said...

I emailed my brother a link to this post. He just received his first MacBook Pro and I hope reading your 'adventure' will make him keep his beverages far away from it.